My friends joke about my “bleak” curiosity with the end of the world, but really it isn’t that bleak – you know, the apocalypse. For me, it’s not just about the end, but the beginning. It’s about a new slate – endless possibilities to be explored though writing. Imagine if we could restart fresh as individuals, or as a civilisation. Don’t get me wrong, if an apocalypse (or the zombocalypse) happened, it would be a terrible thing, horrific on a scale I can’t comprehend. I mean, even Shaun of The Dead had its dark moments and that was a romantic comedy… with zombies. This is the joy of fiction, this freedom to play, to let slip the dogs of imagination on whatever scenario desired.
The apocalypse in fiction is a way to explore pioneer romanticism. It is our harsh place to start over, a chance to build, create, and do things right. It is our chance to explore whether we learn from history and to settle the age old debate between nature or nurture. There are similarities between Lord of the Flies and so many zombie scenarios; a group of survivors in a desolate land up against zombies, their beast.
So are zombies just about zombies? Zombies are catalysts for conflict concerning politics, science and religion. So, paradoxically, zombie fiction is often about life. There can be much social commentary. Zombies allow us to go into dark territory, removed from reality just enough so that it isn’t so dark that we can't see.
They are unthinking fodder. They act as an unstoppable force of nature, or some supernatural force. They are terrifyingly predictable as they march forth in search of flesh. They are rarely the only threat. To know someone, to truly know them, is to know how they will act in different situations and zombies are yet another situation to see how characters will react.
Submit your genre fictions for issue 6 with or without zombies. Go to strange places. Explore.
Oh and… brains… brains… brains…